Technology addicts, when the real world is boring

Anxiety and depression are the main threats for many young people between 10 and 19 years old. In some cases, network addiction is the beginning of everything. Furthermore, after the pandemic the number of young people suffering from this problem has increased.

This is the case of a young man, who prefers to remain anonymous, whose addiction to technology completely altered his life. He explained what his experience was like in the form of a letter: “My inappropriate use of technology dates back to when I was six years old. When I was 18 I went to bed between five and eight in the morning and get up at nine to go to class. “I fell into a depressive episode,” he says in ‘La Hora de la 1’.

Nomophobia, the irrational fear of leaving the house without your cell phone

It all started with a console

To understand his addiction we have to go back to when he was 6 years old, when he received his first console. Since then, his relationship with technology has been maintained over time and was accentuated when he arrived at the University: “The rhythm of sleep and hunger were greatly altered by the excessive use of mobile phones and computers, even going to bed at night. eight in the morning and get up at nine to go to class,” he says.

Time was passing and this young man was not aware that his problem was progressing: “I fell into a depressive episode that made me abandon my career. and despite going through a very bad time, I was totally unable to give up my habits, causing the depression to worsen,” this young man expressed in the letter.

Months later, he realized that he couldn’t continue like this: “I decided to detoxify myself from technology.. I did a 21-day total disconnection therapy. No screens, signing up for different activities. And my mood was improving,” she concludes. A therapy that gave her life back.

“They begin to have concentration and memory problems”

More and more young people live glued to devices connected to the Internet. The Technological Addiction Care Service of the Community of Madrid ensures that hours in front of devices are key. Devi Uranga is director of Addiction Care at CAM: “Two hours a day are usually good for leisure. From there, the more hours, the more at risk the child is. Technologies cause dependency and leaving them can be unpleasant,” he says.

On average, this service receives per day between three and four cases and after the pandemic it has increased: They even have a waiting list. A similar situation is what has been experienced by Psychology Service of the University of Murcia: have seen their number of patients double. Jose Antonio Ruiz is director of the psychology service at this university: “They begin to have concentration and memory problems. We must bear in mind that social networks are very attractive and the real world begins to be boring for them,” explains the professor.

And new technologies completely change their perception of reality: “Sometimes social networks present a fictitious, unreal world. A world that increasingly traps more young people,” concludes the professor.

What is FOMO?

The fear of missing out on the networks can fuel addiction to them and anxiety in young people. This is what is known as FOMO. a fear that drives excessive consumption and can cause real relationships to be ignored.

Social networks do not stop sending information about what friends and family are doing, about leisure possibilities and even job offers, and this causes some users to fear missing out on what is happening outside of them. In English they have called it by its acronym, FOMO. More than a syndrome, psychologists and sociologists prefer to talk about the fear that there has always been of social exclusion, which is now visible on the Internet. The anxiety about being disconnected is greater among young people: if the group is on the networks and everything happens on the networks, they cannot stay away.

Teresa Sánchez is an expert in Technological Addictions and Drug Dependencies at UNIR: “Common use usually takes place over a series of hours. FOMO is that English term that means fear of missing out on information and being connected. It is that dependency, having the need to look at social networks and distance our reality from day to day“.

However, sometimes it is not an easy task to identify that there is an addiction problem: “Preciselylack of control is the key to distinguish between someone who can control the use of technology or, on the contrary, you should consult with professionals who can help you identify the problem,” explains the expert.

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